Amazing Pictures, Pollution in China

[QQ] October 14, 2009, the 30th annual awards ceremony of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund took place at the Asia Society in New York City. Lu Guang (卢广) from People’s Republic of China won the $30,000 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography for his documentary project “Pollution in China.”


1. “At the junction of Ningxia province and Inner Mongolia province, I saw a tall chimney puffing out golden smoke covering the blue sky, large tracts of the grassland have become industrial waste dumps; unbearable foul smell made people want to cough; Surging industrial sewage flowed into the Yellow River…”Lu Guang (卢广), freelancer photographer, started as an amateur photographer in 1980. He was a factory worker, later started his own photo studio and advertising agency. August of 1993 he returned to post-graduate studies at the Central Arts and Design Academy in Beijing (now is the Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University). During graduate school, he studied, traveled all over the country and carved out a career, became the “dark horse” of the photographer circle in Beijing. Skilled at social documentary photography, his insightful, creative and artistic work often focused on “social phenomena and people living at the bottom of society”, attracted the attentions of the national photography circle and the media. Many of his award winning works focused on social issues like, “gold rush in the west”, “drug girl”, “small coal pit”, “HIV village”, “the Grand Canal”, “development of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway” and so on.

– Lu Guang



2. Chemical waste from Jiangsu Taixing Chemical Industrial District (江苏泰兴化工园区) dumped on top of the Yangtze River bank. May 15, 2009



3. Fan Jai Zhuang in Anyang City, Henan province, (河南安阳市范家庄) there is only one wall separating this village from the steelmaking furnaces. The villagers live in this heavily polluted environment where the village is under the iron rain every day. March 24, 2008



4. Industrial sewage of Zhejiang Xiaoshan Industrial District (浙江萧山化工园区) eventually flowed into Qiantang River. April 24, 2009



5. Henan Anyang iron and steel plant’s (河南安阳钢铁厂) sewage flowed into Anyang River. March 25, 2008



6. Guiyu, Guangdong province, (广东省贵屿镇) rivers and reservoirs have been contaminated, the villager is washing in a seriously polluted pond. November 25, 2005



7. Shizuishan Industrial district in Ningxia province (宁夏石嘴山湖滨工业园区), the tall chimneys spitted out smoke and dust. Residents took preventive measure for the falling dust from the sky when going outside. April 22, 2006



8. In the Yellow Sea coastline, countless sewage pipes buried in the beach and even extending into the deep sea. April 28, 2008



9. In Ma’anshan, Anhui province (安徽马鞍山), along the Yangtze River there are many small-scaled Iron selection factories and plastic processing plants. Large amounts of sewage discharged into the Yangtze River June 18, 2009



10. In Inner Mongolia there were 2 “black dragons” from the Lasengmiao Power Plant (内蒙古拉僧庙发电厂) covering the nearby villages. July 26, 2005



11. Jiangsu province Changshu City Fluorine Chemical industry land sewage treatment plant (江苏省常熟市氟化学工业园污水处理厂) was responsible for collection and processing of the industrial sewage. However they did not, the sewage pipe was extended 1500 meters under the Yangtze River and releasing the sewage there. 2009 June 11



12. Soil by Yangtze River, was polluted by Anhui Province Ma’anshan Chemical Industrial District (安徽省马鞍山化工园区). June 26, 2009



13. Large amount of the industrial wastewater flowed to Yellow River from Inner Mongolia Lasengmiao Industrial District (内蒙古拉僧庙工业园区) every day. July 26, 2005



14. A Large amount of the chemical wastewater discharged into Yangtze River from Zhenjiang Titanium mill (镇江市钛粉厂) every day. Less than 1,000 meters away downstream is where the water department of Danyang City gets its water from. June 10, 2009



15. In Haimen city, Jiangsu province Chemical Industrial District sewage treatment Plant (江苏省海门市化工园区污水处理厂) discharged wastewater into Yangtze River. June 5, 2009



16. Hebei Province Shexian Tianjin Iron and steel plant (河北省涉县天津钢铁厂) is a heavily polluting company. Company scale is still growing, seriously affecting the lives of local residents. March 18, 2008



17. Longmen town in Hanchen city, Shaanxi Province (陕西省韩城市龙门镇) has large-scaled industrial development. Environment is very seriously polluted there. April 8, 2008



18. There are over 100 chemical plants in Jiangsu province coastal industry district. (江苏滨海头罾沿海化工园区) Some of them discharge wastewater into the ocean; some heavily contaminated sewage is stored in 5 “Sewage Temporary Pools”. During the 2 high tides in every month, the sewage then gets discharged into the ocean with the tides. June 20, 2008



19. Jiangxi Province Hu Ko County Chemical Industry district (江西省胡口县化工园区) is by the Yangtze River. Chemical factory landfill the Yangtze River bank to expand the scale of the factory without authorization.



20. Anhui Province Cihu Chemical Industry District (安徽省慈湖化工园区) built a underground pipe to discharge wastewater into the Yangtze River. The wastewater sometimes is black, gray, dark red, or yellow, wastewater from different chemical factories has different colors. June 18, 2009



21. Shanxi Province is the most polluted areas of China. It is also the province with the highest rate of birth defects. This loving farmer couple adopted 17 disabled children. April 15, 2009

“In Some areas of China people’s lives were threatened because of the environmental pollution. Residents suffering from all kinds of obscured diseases, the cancer villages, increase of deformed babies, these were the results of sacrificing environment and blindly seeking economical gain.”

– Lu Guang



22. Elder shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell. April 23, 2006



23. 15-year-old boy from Tianshui, Gansu Province (甘肃天水), dropped out of the school after 2nd grade, followed his parents to Heilonggui (黑龙贵) Industrial District. He earns 16 yuan a day. April 8, 2005



24. Inner Mongolia province Heilonggui (黑龙贵) Industrial District, the couple who worked at the Plaster Kiln and just got home. March 22, 2007



25. Villagers from Kang village in Linfen City, Shanxi Province (山西省临汾市下康村) due to long-term consumption of the polluted water contaminated by industrial waste, there were 50 people who have cancer and cerebral thrombosis. 64-year-old Wang Baosheng got ill since 2003, he has fester all over his body so he cannot go to bed and lying face down on the edge of the bed each day. July 10, 2005



26. Breathing in large amount of dust into the lungs, people gets sick after working there for 1-2 years. Most of these migrant workers come from area of poverty. April 10, 2005



27. Zhangqiao village by the Hong River in Wugang City, Henan Province (河南省舞钢市洪河边的张桥村), a 45-year-old woman Sun Xiaojun (孙晓军) could not move her feet and hands since 4 years ago. The numerous hospital treatments were not effective. April 7, 2009



28. Zhaozhuang village by the Hong River in Wugang City, Henan province (河南省舞钢市洪河边的赵庄村), 66-year-old Zhao Bingkun suffering from esophageal cancer since 2004, after the second surgery, treatment cost already have reached over 200,000 yuan. His condition is in late stage, he is having fever everyday, waiting for death. April 7, 2009



29. Zhaozhuang village by the Hong River in Wugang City, Henan province (洪河边的河南省西平县张于庄村), Gao Wanshun’s (高万顺) wife died of cancer. Now he lives in poverty. April 3, 2009



30. Linfen City in Shanxi province (山西临汾市) is seriously polluted area. Farmers after working in the cotton fields for 2 hours are filled with coal ashes. September 24 2007



31. Salt factory worker in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province (江苏连云港) said angrily, “when the wind blowing towards our side, the foul smell from the chemical factories is unbearable. There is even more poison gas at night.” July 19, 2008



32. People form Fanjiazhuang (范家庄) are ready to submit a complain filled with their fingerprints, to seek compensation for pollution damages. March 19, 2008



33. In Shanxi Province there are a lot of charitable nursing homes, to help disabled infants abandoned by their parents. April 14, 2009



34. Liujiawan village by the Hong River in Wugang City, Henan province (河南省舞钢市洪河边的刘家湾村), 13 year old Yang Xiao in November 2008 was ill with obscure disease.  She was saved by the donation of the villagers. When the grandmother saw the old village chief came to visit his granddaughter, she kneeled on the ground holding granddaughter’s hand. April 19, 2009



35. The oldest is 9, not going to school. The youngest is less than 2 years old. They lived in severely polluted area. They hands and faces were always dirty. April 10, 2005



36. Mazhuang village by the Hong River in Wugang City, Henan province, (河南省舞钢市洪河边的马庄村) 58-year-old Ma Haipeng (马海朋) was suffering from stomach cancer since 2006 and could not work in the field. He must take medicine every day, otherwise it is too painful. April 6, 2009



37. Every year, a lot of deficiency babies in Shanxi Province were abandoned. Kong Zhenlan (孔贞兰) in Qi town (祁县) who was making a living by recycling trash adopted 25 abandoned children. April 14, 2009



38. Xuanwei (宣威) in Yunnan province is a cancer village. Every year there are more than 20 people die of cancer. 11-year-old student Xu Li (徐丽) is suffering from bone cancer. May 8, 2007



39. In Shexian Village, Hebei Province, (河北省涉县固新村) the existing cancer patients are more than 50 people and more than 20 cancer patients die each year. March 18, 2008


40.  Zhangyuzhuan village by the Hong River in Xiping county, Henan province, (河南省西平县洪河边的张于庄村) 22-year-old Zhu Xiaoyan (朱小燕) had a tumor in her stomach in 2007. She died after number of hospital treatments on July 2008. 4-year-old girl with her grandfather came to mother’s tomb. April 2009 2


original source: Fengniao

Followup: Interview with Lu Guang, the photographer of “Pollution in China”

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    1. That Chinaman in the first picture looks EXACTLY like an Ape. Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between savage yellow monkeys and savage black monkeys.

      Sometimes I think Chinamen and Niggers are cursed by god – or the devil.

          1. Some day you will perish, and all those who’ve encountered you will rejoice at the news of your passing. On that day, the world shall become a little brighter.

      1. Wow… It makes me sad to know that I am living in a world where people like you find this entertaining. I fear you might be the one that is cursed my friend

      2. Which tree did you swing from Expatrick? Oh, that’s right, you’ve got no soul and you’ve just condemned yourself to Hell you bigoted, racist bastard.

      3. expatrick, you stink more than the river flowing near that poor Chinaman. Never forget that you are the savage albino monkey, infact we all descended from monkeys, but some of us thinks they are so scared and valuable because of their skin color. by the way there is no god , heaven or hell you will decompose after you die and will probably smell worse with all that hatred inside you.

        1. Nobody descended from monkeys. That is a fairy tale, science so-called falsely. It is now known that even just enzymes could not have arisen by chance. These are necessary, large numbers of different kinds of them, for chemical reactions in cells to take place at rates which make life possible. The manufacture of enzymes requires precise and extremely complicated information, encoded in DNA. It hasn’t gone mainstream yet and probably won’t until very soon before Jesus comes back, but Darwin’s theory is dung.

          1. Way to go replying to a comment two years ago.

            You sure got your message across to that guy, eh?

        2. expatrick, you are sick and should seek mental asylum. Masterless i find you’re name very ironic because you’re slave is your mind. We all came from monkeys you say? Why are there still monkeys? re they waiting to evolve? Fool. Theory of Evolution keyword; THEORY.

        3. expatrick, you are sick and should seek mental asylum. Masterless i find you’re name very ironic because you’re slave of your mind. We all came from monkeys you say? Why are there still monkeys? re they waiting to evolve? Fool. Theory of Evolution keyword; THEORY.

      4. What the hell is wrong with you? Do you have a neanderthal brain that makes you incapable of realizing that you are the exact same as the man in the picture you berate? You’re the fucking same! You descend from the same people and you’re virtually identical genetically.

        Try, just try to be less of a low-brow cretin, biggoted piece of shit. You’re days are numbered anyway, so you might as well get used to it now.

      5. You racist piece of human waste. I pray to God that you suffer long and hard for your unforgiving words. We are all human beings, and the people in these pictures are not given a choice. They have to live the way their government forces them to live. I will probably burn in hell for wishing something like this upon another human being, but so be it. But I promise one thing, when I meet you there, you will wish that you had thought about the things you have said, for I will make your HELL, an unbearable living HELL!

      6. It’s so sad that my country gave up its environment for economic growth. I think it’s mainly the government’s fault, allowing factories to flourish with minimum supervision due to corruption because it is a one party rule. There are so many government officials that I’ve heard/know embezzled billions of Chinese Yuan (Like the head Engineer for the new speed railway in June, caused the collision of two train). The government will always be the controversial part of China. It makes harsh decisions for economic growth, provide jobs and increased overall living standard for Chinese people. On the other hand, it sacrifice the environment, and the freedom of it’s people (there is no Facebook, Twitter nor Youtube in China) I visit China around twice a year and even in Beijing the pollution can be seen from the color of the sky, in year 2009 the sky rained mud, it was pretty gross.

        BTW, this Patrick is not even worth getting angry over, because first I think Patrick posted this just to get attention and if he is really speaking his mind then I’m still shock there are still people like Patrick lurking among us like a maggot in my sandwich.

        1. I like what you had to say, all of it. I just think that all countries are like Plantations which are Corporations given Nationalistic Titles. Where Everyones a Slave to the Corporate Powers of the World, the Illuminists, Masonic, Jesuiit, Zionist, The I.M.F., World Bank, The Crown, the B.A.R.,the Mechanism of the N.W.O. Agenda and All thier Agencies and Agents of which there are Many ! Thanks for Caring enough too Share what you did Tang ! PEACE

        2. I am sorry for what my country has done in exporting our misery to your country and your people who are suffering because big corporations have figured out how to spend the least amount of money to manufacture more “stuff” than we already have from over-consumption. The environmental protection agency here would have such stringent policies against the pollution your poor people have to suffer through so the assholes have your people living in these deplorable conditions. May God forgive them. My thoughts and prayers are with your beautiful people and land.

          1. Rosie..

            you stupid liberal. You are speaking from your liberal indoctrination training point of view.
            Had you paid one tiny fraction of a bit of attention to his post.. he blamed the COMMUNIST government for the plight of his country.

            But being a liberal twat, you looked right past that because socialism / communism works!.. it just hasn’t been done right yet. RIGHT?

            We exported nothing to them.. their COMMUNIST GOVERNMENT brought them their curse. Exactly like he communists that you worship and want to see running things here.

            just remember, if they get their way you will be one of the first lined up againts the wall and shot in the head… can’t have you talking bad about them.

            1. Next time you go shopping pay attention to the “made in” sign on said items. For some to live in opulence others must live in need. Newton’s third is not only applicable to the motions we can detect. Every action has a direct counter-action. When we re-make natural materials into unnatural materials we end up with toxic waste. We’ve been doing it for centuries but only now is it really catching up with us. The situation in China can be directly correlated to the situation in America. As a matter of fact our opulence can be directly traced to locations all over this planet we are all supposed to be sharing. Doesn’t seem as if we’ve ever learned the sharing part. If and when we truly see our fellow human beings as our extended family then we may redirect our suffering into a congruity of spirit amongst mankind.

            2. No betadyne you are sadly mistaken. While you prattle about indoctrination you ironically display a fully-fledged manufactured worldview. You obviously grew up in the states, you obviously have watched a lot of TV, and you obviously have suffered mentally because of the lack of opportunity to actually mature.

              What was ‘exported’ was an avaracious desire to satisfy our urge for novelty and cheap consumption. And a demand for the shoddy goods they have given away their health and country to produce for us.

              There are many places where this pattern has wreaked devastation on the planet, including the US and Canada, but impoverished areas suffer worse since they cannot defend themselves as well from the lure of money. The political or economic system of the area is quite irrelevant. (that means “doesn’t matter”, sorry 4 syllable word)

              Saying this is realted to some “comm-you-nist” prattle, and indeed accusing people you know nothing about of “worship” something you appear to know nothing about except is a bogeyman as you have been repeatedly told, is unspeakably, embarassingly, ironically, and pathetically brainless. It evokes the impression of an uneducated, fat, stupid, lazy middle-aged balding man in a muscle shirt clutching a pabst blue ribbon while whining at uncle pa about guvermint.

        3. @ Tang “BTW, this Patrick is not even worth getting angry over, because first I think Patrick posted this just to get attention and if he is really speaking his mind then I’m still shock there are still people like Patrick lurking among us like a maggot in my sandwich.”

          Haha “lurking among us like a maggot in my sandwich” Pure brilliance! Love it!

          Yes and while there are so many environmental laws in China, very few are actually inforced because of the corruption at the local levels. Though Xi JinPing has promised reform and crackdown through the “flies and tigers” campaign, I think that the damage done will effect generations of Chinese living in the countryside.

      7. why must racist whites always show their tendencies online. I wish we could line all of you up and decapitate you people one by one and feed your body to lions OR crocodiles. People like you serve no purpose and are a burden to all inhabitants on this planet. I have absolutely no compassion for people like you. I fantasize about cutting racist peoples head off with a small butter knife. I’d love to see the pain,agony, and wickedness slowly rise to the surface of your pupils until they fade to blackness. May GOD damn you people with sickness and ill so the rest of humankind can flourish. Please just do us all favor and stick your hand in a running garbage disposal that way you bleed to death and we can be free of at least of you cowards.

        1. ok, not all white people are racists. that’s a little extreme. actually, no, that’s a LOT extreme. i’m not saying that that patrick guy was right, because he’s not and is just supremely ignorant and we should pity him. but come on now, now YOU are being racist. and psychotic. i think you need to talk to someone professionally about your extremely violent thoughts…

        2. I love how people (typically leftists) always make racism out to be a “white” only issue. Newsflash people: Everybody hates somebody! And NO, before you jump to your emotion driven conclusions, I’m not agreeing with the words of expatrick. I’ve met East Indian’s that are bigoted against Pakistanies, French who hate English and vise versa, Japanese who hate the Chinese, Muslims who hate everyone non-Muslim, etc, etc. A black guy I know tried to stay at a Korean hostel once. I say tried because the Korean bigots wouldn’t let him in. Where were the bleeding heart leftists to speak against them? White only? Your statement itself is bigoted you self loathing “manofthedamned”.

          1. Really? In my experience it’s always been right wingers that make whites out to be the only people capable of racism. I suppose it’s just where you grow up I guess.

        3. Why make this specific to “whites”, when only a small minority of posters have written in such a way. Have you never been to a Chinese online forum? There are years and years of posts by racists condemning white people as rapists, pedofiles, murderers and thieves. Oh yeah, and whites are all racist! Just look at the China Daily or South China Morning Post forums.

          But there is a difference between a white racist and a Chinese racist. The white racist will be condemned by the vast majority of white people – which is exactly what has happened here on this page; while the Chinese racists are only criticised by non-Chinese. That tells you that there is a huge blind spot regarding self-reflection about racism in China. Chinese tend to think only foreigners are racist, but anybody who has lived in East Asia knows that there are strong racial supremacism themes in China, Korea and Japan. In fact these three countries are probably the world’s last remaining strongholds of such thinking.

      8. Geez, to think you are human with fingers (the ability to type such crap) and the stupidity to leave feedback like that?

        I have not even been connected to the internet for a year yet, but I am astonished daily by TROLLS like youself. Congratulations? That must be the worst thing I have read to date 🙁

        1. Above post is directed at expatrick and every other TROLL in the feedback for these shocking pictures.

      9. I thought nothing could make me feel worse than these images. expatrick you´ve done it. Knowing there’s people who think like you do makes me fantasize about a world in the only pollution is the one we see in these pictures and we are free of the sort of mental pollution you show on your comments.

      10. Shame on you for being such a low life. People like you who make such racist derogatory comments are as bad as the pollution represented in these images.

      11. Oh expatrick you make me laugh on what you said, instead of seeing what people are going through you merely make idiotic comments that do not need to be said. What did you accomplish on saying that? Do you feel like you have made a name for yourself? Amusing. I think you are cursed, not by god but by yourself, Galatians 3: 28- There is neither jew nor greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Now I put this quote for you, I may not know what religion you are but I hope it helps you in seeing the light. Here is an opportunity to make a difference and you make yourself look like a fool, the only thing you accomplished was more people looking down at you and feeling pity. I know it is your opinion and what not, I know not everyone doesn’t see things the same way, but please explain to me on what you accomplished on making that comment???? because I do not understand…..

      12. Well, expatrick, there is no god. While you’re digesting that, why don’t you go and fuck yourself.

      13. Really?! That’s what you have to say after you seen this page. You are disgusting and too pathetic for words. Oh well, you’ll meet The Law of Threefold Return. Anyway, you’ll get what you deserve.

      14. Dear Internet,

        After reading the above comment, I would like my money back.

        Thank you.

      15. What a pathetic, inhuman trolling racist that POS “expatrick” is. If there is karma, you are definitely on the receiving end, you POS. btw, I’m not Chinese; I’m an American (Caucasian), and people like you make me ashamed of my race!

      16. You are a disgrace to the human race. Remember whatever affects them is being put into the air the whole world breathes. The difference between humans I find just so surprising in this day and age of EDUCATION! We are all one and tied together somehow! You are a tin man. I feel so sorry for you.

      17. I will feed your worthless ass and everybody like you to them. You will make good pig meat you anglo trash and your god can join you. I have no more tolerance for people like you who choose to be stupid.

      18. Wow we can all see that you have no human soul, only a shell filled with the ugliest and dirtiest filth that looks and smells just like the sewage in the photos. Thank you for sharing and exposing your evil to everyone reading.

      19. You know, I have a habit of being racist and in general I’ve often taken a negative view of “foreigners” in the country I was born in. But then, I read something like you wrote and I think.. how bloody ignorant!

        I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to live secluded within your own race, but to put down other races as inferior, or “sub-human” is complete rubbish. I bet you many of these people are good people. Sure they come from a different background, culture and I believe there are very slight differences due to race, but at the end of the day they are people, just like you. You’re not perfect either whether you are white, black, brown, yellow.

        We are all different, yet we are all the same. We are all people.

        (Having said all that, I would still prefer to live in a country of my own exclusive race)

  2. This is actually a very sad side of today’s China. The picture of China is and has always been very very complicated. In certain cases, it has got better, while in many others it gets worse, sometimes very horrible condition. While I was visiting a northern chinese coastal city last week, I actually saw about 100+ herons (or something like that) roaming on the beach very close to residence areas. This is unthinkable 10 years back while left China for States. I still remember that it was one of the headlines of local news paper just because a pair of geese laid a couple of eggs in a city park. 🙁
    I am not sure if one can blame “development” for this. As a matter of fact, the pollution is more serious in under developed or poor area than more developed areas in China. My believe is, people will have to have the basic means of life before they start to understand the importance of environment, before they can be educated and before they know how and take actions to protect the environment and home earth.
    I am pretty hopeful. And wish the best.

    1. The development process, factories that make the cutting edge products, heavy duty machineries… are all done in the under developed poor area. Of course they are not going to put factories in a crowed city. Yes you are right, people need to be better educated about the importance of environment at each level. The actions of these factories have done in the pictures are totally unacceptable, “development” indeed is not to be blamed even though it caused to product more industrial waste, it’s the people who run the operations, only if they are more conscious about the environment issues, have better compassion, more morality, less corruptions, more common sense, not always taking the easy way… maybe these are too much to ask…

      1. Hear hear!

        The sad thing is that most of these operations are running so that the rest of the world can have cheap products while still allowing producers to turn a profit.

        It’s our own over-consumption that is helping fuel this, let’s not forget.

        1. thank you for reminding everyone that its our global responsibility to decrease our consumption of the very things made by these polluters.

          1. It would not be hard to reduce pollution from these factories. They just don’t want to take the measures needed to keep the environment clean.

            1. Considering that some are owned by our own greedy 1%. They have no incentive to clean it up since it’s not in their “backyard”.

              1. STFU you libtarded twat.

                I bet directly after posting that you jumped on YOUR iphone and posted some vapid tweet online.

                Then went shopping at walmart. Jackasses such as yourself feed this.. and are too stupid to realize it.

                1. Another response by someone with half a brain. Evolution will take care of your kind. Darwin awaits!

            2. Easier Said than done. How do you get rid of just say simply – ever-renewing, ever-faster, ever-changing/improving computer’s old printed circuit boards (mother boards, etc.) by the containers load. Where will they go to? This just one kind of toxic waste in huge volume, who will handle it?

              Most I heard ended in some poor, less well managed third world countries in collaboration with corrupt officials. Problem solved???, YES for the myopic vision. But NO, lest we forget we have only one earth to live on at this stage and we are working very hard to find some other new planet(s) in outer space to live and then maybe start polluting again.

              Maybe then Major pollution through Total, All out Nuclear Exchange or War will be feasible. This is sadly the greed and selfishness that is hurting us. People always see others’ problems but never look themselves in the mirror. Sigh!

              1. Part of the above reply is at Phoenixfal.

                The following is for general public.

                The time we find out inhabitable planets maybe epochal for Science & Technology but it sadly is also a milestone signifying the age of Pollution and War beyond the Global level and onto the Astronomical scale! Going merrily about polluting and destroying all the planets we can make to. Hehehe! Sad, indeed.

                Many think my backyard is separate and nothing related to other backyards, actually, it may be linked invisibly or in-discernibly. One would not argue against this possibility, if you consider many newly found phenomena like the Quantum Entanglement Theory. There maybe at least “some” good guess or should we say – wisdom with some religious claims that – ALL things are actually linked together as one. Just because we lack our capability to discern such does not necessarily mean it can not be true.

                We are nothing but a tiny tiny speck in the whole vast universe trying to size up that humongous universe in!, making all kinds of sometimes correct but often times wrong assumptions in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Botany, etc.

                Also many of us always like to think we are better than the other guys in many aspects.

                1. One of the solutions that can truly be effective maybe is like other comments say all along –

                  Curb Over/wasteful consumption.

  3. Amazing pictures, shocking motives. I travelled in China in 2004, in areas which did not have these extreme sights, but China still have a long way to cope with its pollution problem!

  4. No one deserves to live in these conditions.. especially not children. The people that decide to put those pipes expelling industrial waste straight into rivers and oceans should have to bathe in that water every day so they can see exactly what they are doing to the people and environment.. makes me sick.

    1. Perhaps the people who decide to pollute DO have to bathe in that water every day. I’d kind of be surprised if they didn’t.

      1. Actually, you can’t really call them Communists anymore. The factory’s and such are not there for the state, they are there for the owners, This is capitalism. There’s a term for what the Chinese have become but I can’t remember it

  5. Get used to the pollution you see in these pictures.
    It is the direction the entire world is heading.

    1. I take it, Harv Brundel, that you’re not very optimistic for the future of mankind.
      Let’s hope for humanity’s sake that you are wrong.

      I don’t doubt for one moment that this severity of environmental destruction goes on in some parts of China. Only time will tell if the Chinese Communist Party and the other authorities realise they cannot continue like this.

  6. Environmental degradation is indeed the most serious crisis China faces today. It will take a combination of policies, severe law enforcement (shooting a couple of corrupt officials who skipped environmental protection would be a great place to start), vast amount of money and other resources dedicated to clean-up, as well as technology.

    1. @HJG. I think they have done many things already like you said shooting not a couple but many corrupt officials but Greed is a very super strong vice motivator. Willing to risk and die.

      The other way is maybe what most advanced nations is doing now (a short myopic solution of just keeping my backyard clean, etc) – offshore the polluting components of production to some poor, badly managed third world nations where they do not have or can not care much about environmental pollution, big or small. We live but only on one precious mother earth. Also (a little far-fetched maybe!) pollution in one place actually could have impacts sooner or later, visible or invisible in other places. No easy solution or else it will long be solved.

    1. Just a note to Anti-Commie – these images may not have been Photoshopped. I studied photography in college for a couple of years, and it doesn’t matter whether you are using film or digital, nearly all high quality images are “manipulated” for contrast and exposure, intensity or lack or intensity in the photograph’s colours. I did colour negative printing as well as black and white, and colouration can be manipulated/altered printing “traditional style” colour prints. This kind of image manipulation went in on colour magazines for years prior to the invention of Photoshop.

      This guy is a great photographer, not because he is a whizzkid on Photoshop, but because he gets his lighting and composition right when he takes, or as, we photographers say, “creates” the photograph. I’d like to be as good as him at photography one day.

      1. Fantastic photography by a person with the courage of convictions to show behind the scenes. China’s people have benefited by huge deveolpment that ha turned around their economy in a short period of time. Unfortunately at great cost to the environment and those who work within the contamination.

        There is now way that these conditions will be able to persist. They will have to act at some point. Good to read some comments that indicate that clean up has already begun since these photos were taken.

        1. I think they said they will now start to see the cost or price of developmental success in more totality than before factoring the pollution cost, also pushing and investing in green technologies like solar, wind, electric cars, etc.

          But lately, I could be wrong, those news are not much in news. Hope they keep it up. Green technologies should not be just – solar, wind, electric cars, etc. but try their best to factor in green tech’s for manufacturing processes and keep evolving. I think we are mostly only amateurs while they up in the fields, they should be smarter in these aspects, they better do.

          As always, giving suggestions that one may have missed should be welcome.

        2. Still the one effective and feasible solution is – Cut down on over or wasteful consumption due to cheapness in price. Seems like we should even welcome and enjoy the current global trend of rising prices, it takes that to curb that senseless waste in consumption.

          People do not try to fix broken things, just throw them in the garbage. Manufacturers make stuffs that broke easily and quickly soon after purchase. “Made to last” – is now considered foolish and undesirable because things especially Made in China is still considered very cheap to buy than fix.

          Take for instance, a brand new computer printer is cheaper than or close the price of a replacement ink cartridge!!! So who will buy the cartridge and the toxic waste build up also comes from here. Buy printer then if no storage space just simply throw the whole “working” printer in the garbage.

          1. About the printer waste build up, I think it is the printer manufacturers’ sneaky dirty ploy or plot went sour somewhat.

            When they want is to get the consumer started up and hooked on to buying their ink cartridge cycle, it backfires on them and creates that waste.

            If they would have tried to be fair in the deal with the consumer, it might work out fine, environmentally as well.

    2. that’s not photoshop, bro… he’s really just that good at taking pictures (of horrible things)

    1. Who says we benifit from this? Politicians who work on the boards of the companies who lay off workers to buy the cheap goods from these places? The bailout allowed bad business and bad practices to continue, that money came from china’s surplus. By way of these pollutions centers. Politics may praise that but it ruins china, the pollution is no easy clean up, and on the west it allows us to continues ruining our economy with bad practices. There is no good that comes from this.

  7. Take these pictures with a grain of salt. Remember, you have not been to the areas where this pictures were taken. The writing seems very biased to cause emotion. A lot of the pictures actually remind me a bit of the early 1900 pictures of the industrial age in the US.

    I have been to Beijing and Shanghia, which I am sure are two of the better places for a foreigner to go. People in China just do what they need to do to survive, just like anyplace else. It’s not great, but these images and especially the writing seem very exaggerated.

    1. Indeed, many could only know these places from picture, however I highly doubt you have been to any of them yourself. Beijing and Shanghai are definitely better than any other place in China, or why do you think so many people would kill for have a place in there? Just please don’t forget the super—national Treatment you are enjoying, with or without realizing it, the billing rate which is thirty-time or forty-times of the average salary in China, the 3LDK residence paid by the company, warm smiles exclusive to a foreign faces and so many new malls and restaurants only a foreigner can afford. Of course the writing are exaggerated, how can it be true?

      Even in china, people have little desire to talk about it, as long as it have nothing to do with ME or MY town or MY family, why the bother. And I just can’t imagine a foreigner would care, or simply know better than average Chinese. Dear Mr.Bethune have left us for a while.

      1. @Lee. Maybe Mike is talking about Balanced reporting, like showing a good mix of both nice pretty side as well as the ugly side of the environment, people and society. I could be corrected.

    2. Exaggerated? This is the award wining photo documentary, all text was translated from the original documentary in Chinese. Have you been to these places in the pictures, you know some of them are pretty close to Shanghai, maybe just couple hours away into the inland country side of China. Next time when you visit China, don’t just stay in Shanghai or Beijing, try go to the countryside, I guarantee you it will change your perceptions and perspectives.

      1. Mike, industrial revolution of the 1900s in US is close. But we had to clean up our acts because people were getting sick and dying. It’s why we have environmental laws. I’m not proud to say it, but even in the US the government had to step in to make business owners behave. It would be nice if industrial giants were willing to put up environmental safeguards on their own. But China is also the place where they thought it would be a good idea to send off poison as a sweetener for a product commonly found in cough syrup. Want to guess how many died from that? If there is nothing to stop businesses from doing terrible things, then they won’t. Money is almighty in the large business world. Something else has to keep it in check. And if they would quit cutting corners, our over-consumerism would still buy it.

        1. rosereply, let us face it, every nation has or had their share of bad practices, mistakes in their developmental stages but advanced nations have rectified them, China hopefully would eventually. I heard long time ago, US rivers or lakes were on fire sometimes if ignited but now we have fixed the problems.

          But unfortunately some fixes also mean some businesses from advanced nations also have to do “quick fix” with their toxic waste dump (like computer waste) by dumping those on the poor third world nations. It is a seemingly or obviously easy way out. It should be illegal no matter who on whom.

          Such is the reality, my friend. Sad, isn’t it? No easy solution but to make it –

          everyone’s duty to cut down on waste or over-consumption.

    3. I got back to Beijing last week and I had good time, but the pollution almost killed me. I could not bread, I got sick! I can not understand how people can live in this environment. I also saw many disable children.Thanks to the photographer for showing the true..maybe some organization like OMS could stop the China’s government for killing and abuse their own people. It is really sad to see the reality in China.

      1. “It is really sad to see the reality in China.”

        Yet so many here in the US want to throw out the moral relativism and usher in the same type of communists that wrecked it there… smart, real smart.

        1. I think it is the capitalism (or in China case – so-called State Capitalism) that is wrecking it.

          It does not have enough regulations like we have here hand in hand with our capitalism, so the one missing is robust, appropriate regulations like we have here. Now they are trying to institute those regulations, hopefully in time to save it.

          Old communist China is said to have cleaner environment but quite “backward” with basically everyone just wearing the same kind of blue or brown khaki uniform. Now with the reforms, it reverts back to old capitalism of ancient China but with not enough regulations.

          Capitalism is okay but without appropriate regulations that is what happens. Their political system still keeps communist structure. Economically, some even say is more capitalistic than us.

          1. So it is capitalism with not enough “appropriate” regulations to go hand in hand with it, that is hurting China. How funny, here some people want more and more deregulation.

            Only inappropriate regulations should be carefully / fairly scrutinized with the interests of majority public in mind and modified or get rid of. Again, easier said than done. How many people would care for the general public?

      2. Olga you are a real BSer, I just got back from Spain and I almost got sick there.

        I saw people living in, on and near garbage mountains just outside the cities, the kids were playing and eating their lunch in them.

        A few years ago, I took a picture of dead fish in Rice lake and some more in other lakes nearby.

        If I had posted them photos for the Chinese to see, everybody in China would think that Canada was a toxic waste dump and all the lakes and waters were poisoned.

        Just as bad as you say, “it is really sad to see the reality in Canada”.

        1. Where in the hell were you in Spain? I lived there for many years, married into a Spanish family (integrating fully with the culture) and NEVER ever did I come across or hear about what you describe as a “garbage mountain just outside the cities” in which “kids were playing and eating their lunch in them.” I’ve traveled extensively throughout Spain (and Western Europe) by car, train, bus, etc. The sky is clear and everyone recycles. Anyone who has been to Europe knows it’s the most environmentally progressive place on Earth. You’re the BSer.

  8. This is the actual story behind the ecoomic growth. This showed we get so obsessed with numbers(GDP) that we simply overlook the ground realities. Not only China but all the developing countries are facing the same problem. Health and environment should be the priority of every country. That can only make a country successful.

  9. Nothing will ever change. A few will always exploit the masses.
    China, India and Africa are the best examples.
    The “civilized” world doesn’t give a **** because these poor creatures pay in blood the cost of their relaxed existence.

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  12. Though these pictures are disturbing and sad, we, the USA, are largely responsible for this outcry. Humanitarians are berating China for their poor work environments and awful pollution, as seen prior to the Olympics, but do they, do we, really know the cause? When we go to Walmart or Target to purchase a shower curtain or flat-screen TV, we are decidedly feeding this growing issue.

    US Corporations cannot afford or are unwilling to pay the outrageous labor and manufacturing cost in USA, due to demanding overpaid work unions and overly strict environment/safety law. Thus the burden in placed on another country where human lives are seemly worth less, where we, in the comforts of our home, cannot feel or acknowledge. If China started enforcing the same standards as the US, the corporation will target the next developing country, India, Malaysia, etc.

    This is the vicious cycle of human greed and selfishness.

    1. the answer to the solution is simple. only allow products to be sold in north america/europe that were manufactored under the same environmental standards we have here.

      companies would be forced to clean up their act or not be able to sell their product. of course this is not something that can happen overnight but something that could happen over 10 years time.

      unforunately all governments are corrupt and big business have them in their back pocket so that will never happen but its nice to dream.

      i believe consumers would be more than willing to pay a bit more for things to make this happen but i know the corps won’t want their stocks to dip or have to take any kind loss. corporate greed is killing the earth more than consumerism. even such a large demand wasn’t there they would still want to make their products at the lowest cost them possible.

      1. Good intention on your part but the sad thing it will not add some cost but instead will add a big cost and make the products quite expensive here. Not easy, that is why one above here said, the businesses like Walmart will then forsake China and move on to whichever nations willing to overlook environment cost to their own nations, the most likely next on the list is India, Vietnam, eventually maybe even Myanmar, Malaysia, etc.

        No easy solution except everyone try to cut down on inappropriate waste and help not only save the world but also our money.

  13. It is hard to find words to measure this. Why do we allow this? If there is such a thing as an “INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY” this should be their wake-up call ! If I am able to see a satellite photo of my backyard furniture, the world knows about all of this activity, yet it still continues. China should be condemned.

    1. The democrats gave them most favored trading status for a reason.. so they could take advantage.

  14. Great pics, sad sight though.

    As a South African, China’s interest in our resources worry me.

    Money can buy everything yet in the end will not be able to provide anything we really require like clean air and water.

    For the record, I’m sorry.

    1. What offends me so greatly is that individuals in first world countries see these pictures and think it has nothing to do with them, it is China’s fault. Fortunately there are a few more enlightened people that have commented here. As a number of these have said previously, it is our constant desire to upgrade our lives with more possessions bought at a lower price that is destroying the environment and some lives in these third world countries.

      Also, these are disturbing images, and of course not indicative of China as a whole, but that’s the point – tourists don’t get to see this. It’s much cheaper to put a factory in a location where families are poor because then you get to pay lower salaries and the local government are more flexible regarding your industrial waste.

      1. working jobs we can’t stand to buy shit we don’t need. Will we ever stop the nuttiness? Me thinks not.

  15. Our American demand for “Cheap” manufacturing has really enabled this. It’s easy to lower manufacturing costs by moving the project to China when there aren’t the same environmental and safety regulations there.

  16. In America we have property rights. My neighbor does not have the right to pollute my air or water. It just proves that its easier to abuse people and areas when they do not have personal rights. Liberty and Freedom work to protect the individual. Central planning protects the state and corporation.

  17. This is sad and horrifying. we are truly blind and dont realise this is the only planet we have!

  18. this is the true cost of “made in china”

    think about that next time you are at the store.

  19. All western consumers have to keep these pictures in their mind, if they buy another redundant product “Made in China”. The poor people livling and working near these chinese factories only have a chance, if WE use our: Either we pass buying products OR we insist on production standards we have in the western world.

  20. Amazing photojournalism! It is really sad to see “Made in China” behind the scene.

    Now you know the translations of Chinese-English!

  21. The irony here has the US and Europe become more Eco-friendly and look down on this type of growth. We ourselves went through the very thing we started cleaning up and shipping these plants overseas to China where eco laws do not exist. If these pictures move you then do something about it stop buying products made in China… which is almost impossible to do.

    It will be up to the people of China to create safe working conditions and pollution laws. The very same thing happened in The states and Europe it will just take time. Capitalism is at its best when all countries are on equal playing ground with labor laws and environmental laws.

    1. It is China’s fault, they have the control of their country. they are Communist, they own everything. They are sacrificing their own people for it. They are the canary in the coal mine, the whole planet will end up this way if we do not control the population of humans.

      1. China is most definitely no Communist my friend. It is only because of capitalist interested world-wide, concentrated in the first world, that has forced China to take such atrocious regulatory measures to protect its people. Sure their government is also at fault, but you are paying for these things to occur every step of the way.

        1. WTF? you have neither read or visited the country. Obviously. Ban yourself from posting senseless dribble for 1 month. No internet for you.

          I HAVE been there and read about it. We were in Shanghai mostly.
          It is both this bad and worse, but the camera amplifies the tragedy.

          Reality is that the suffering is well known, self imposed and driven by economics and government.

          1. David,

            It’s nice that you visited Shanghai, but it’s completely untrue to state that “they [the government] owns everything”. I’m sure that during your time in Shanghai you saw plenty of shops and stands owned and operated by individuals. Similarly, many of the big, polluting industries have been privatized over the years.

      2. I agree with you that China’s governing bodies must reform their environmental oversight and are, ultimately, accountable for the welfare of their people. However, it would be foolish to ignore the fact that multinational corporations (MNCs) are a catalyst to this environmental tragedy. It is a complex world we live in and few things, if any, are black and white. Finger-pointing will not solve a problem of this magnitude and a viable solution depends on the the willingness between governments, non-profits, MNCs, and consumers! to collaborate. Given the current economic climate, there are few incentives for MNCs to follow a socially responsible agenda beyond the legal requirements. As consumers, however, we can vote with our dollars.

        1. I think this is the only response worth reading. STEX, you offer an outside of the box way to look at it without arguing, nitpicking or pointing fingers like everyone else is doing here.


      3. How is overpopulation to blame? Its the mismanagement of the population..

        The more people the more we are able to support our selves, so long as hierarchical structures are not oppressing us. ..This same type of oppression has happened throughout history to various population sizes.

        It is not overpopulation. That is elitist propaganda. They want to lower our value of human life so they can begin to manage us through eugenics like has always been the case in history.

        1. Let’s run through this:

          People live upon the land, they eat what grows upon the land and they dwell upon the land. Therefore, every person requires some minimum amount of space to exist. Now, how much space does each person require? That is up to debate, but what is not is that the available space is limited. At some point between population zero and falling-into-the-ocean, there is a hard limit upon the number of people that can exist in the world.

          I wonder how small a space you’d be prepared to confine yourself to?

      4. I suppose ignorance is a bliss…

        pollution is occuring planet-wide, there is no political boundary where pollutions can travel. If you really want to control pollution then extend the environmental laws in developed countries, onto factories they own outside of the country. Every developing nation goes through this stage, it’s worse in some parts of the because well-developed countries take advantage of the inaptly regulated environmental laws in developing countries so people in developed countries can have a higher standard of living, at the expense of what you just saw.

    2. There’s one person and one person only to blame for this: George W. Bush.

      He did nothing during his eight years to put any pressure on China and just look at the result. These pictures should go along with ones of the killing fields of Iraq.

      1. What a horrible Bush reference. Not a single American did too much to push China into regulations. Bush is responsible for this… responsible for the weather (Katrina), responsible for the attacks of 9/11… responsible for AIDS, etc. And if we gave Bush the death penalty… who then would we blame?

        Liberals…. can’t live with em, can’t shoot em…

        1. No one blames Bush for the hurricane itself, but many rightly condemn his lackluster response.

          Some people blame Bush for 9/11, but most simply despise his use of the tragedy to fulfill unrelated agendas.

        2. I’m certainly left of center and I think the GW Bush comparison made by Walter is absurd, and agree with you there. But your blaming liberalism isn’t adding to the conversation, and adds to polarization.

        3. > Liberals…. can’t live with em, can’t shoot em…

          This kind of irresponsible thinking is what elected and re-elected Bush.

      2. You don’t have a clue who is to blame, only idiots blame. Try to be part of the solution, not the problem.

        You don’t have your history correct, look at the rise of China and the export of technology to China, That did not start 8 years ago! You might as well blame all of the politicians that let the USA export all the mfg jobs to third world countries, export our technology, and did not look out for our people.

        Today the USA is more influenced by forign powers than the people who live and vote here. This is a bipartisan issue.

        1. ” You don’t have a clue who is to blame, only idiots blame. Try to be part of the solution, not the problem.”

          Best thing I’ve heard on here. All we do is blame and participate in arguments, but no one really thinks on a solution nor tries to make a difference…

          1. The first thing people need to realize is that neither party is on any peoples side.

            What, are we all children here to believe politicians? “Read my lips, no new taxes”, ” I did not have sex with that woman” , “Sadam has WMD’s and we dont want the smoking gun that comes in the form of a mushroom cloud” , “I have not said that I am a supporter of a single-payer system”

            All of these have been proven false and lies to the public. I could go back even further. THey all lie, and will say whatever fits their agenda and the people be damned

            A House divided against itself can not stand, and politicians have our country divided, the world divided and we know that the oldest war strategy is to “Divide and…”

            As long as the people keep buying the lies, the people will keep getting lies.

            Politicians have a system, it is called problem, reaction, solution. This is how they get corrupted

            If people want results, the “people” needs to hold politicans around the world accountable, that does not mean let one government hold another accountable.

            Governments are supposed to be the servant of the people, not puppet masters!

            As far as population, it is a scam. You could give every family ( based on a 3 person family, so it averages out) in the world 3/4 of an acre, teach them to grow their food and live sustainable and you would not even cover but about 3/4 of Austraila. That leaves the rest of the planet untouched, so the lies about overpopulation is just that, another lie.

            1. Indeed, very well put. Sad though to have to wade through so much dreck to find a comment not evincing, at least to a small degree, the author’s having bought into the us vs them distraction, One promulgated to keep the poor and the even poorer at one another’s throat as opposed to identifying the common elements of their respective situations; or perhaps, and this is truly unthinkable from the perspective of those counting on such self-division, even a dawning recognition of just who are the actual beneficiaries of their shared misery.

    3. Stop blaming other countries. If Chinese Government realizes this human tragedies, they should setup plan to help these innocents people. But they don’t, what kind of government is that? At least they should relocate their citizens to a safe place, and stop this madness. But for the enrichment of a few, they just ignore this human tragedies. If this happens in USA or Europe, or any civilized countries, these unfortunate people can sue their government and get compensations, but hell NOT in China, these people are destined to be the sacrifice lambs for the sake of a few rich people. Listen, STOP blaming other countries, it is the China problem and they should solve for their citizens.

      1. Alan…sad to say…. imho of course the Chinese govt. realizes this. THEY DON’T CARE.

        The citizens are the slaves. Many are simple, unsophisticated people who don’t have the means to organize and say enough already. Just like every other govt. to a lesser degree. But China is so huge. In a smaller country, say like somewhere in western Europe, the people would put a stop to this horrible exploitation of themselves and their local resources.

        It’s all about the money and power, bottom line.

        There will be a price to be paid for this.

        Bravo and hugs to Lu Guang.

    4. Man, shut the fuck up. The chinese government is to blame here 100% and no I am not American.

    5. This is Socialism at it’s best. Be careful what you wish for and be sure to vote these progresive socialists out of office before you live in the socialist republic of the United States. To the unions and environmentalists that drove american industry to its grave and the big union government communist class that votes for more entitlement for government workers, you are to blame, you won a small battle but look at the result of your intollarance. If we would have worked with the lumber, steel, and mfg industrys in our own country the third world would have had a model and the technology to do it right and reduced all of this pollution abroad.

      1. Gforceoutfitters, this is exactly what I’m thinking. Most people only look at the problem itself, but do not think in a larger scale what caused it. They keep blaming the Chinese govt for this environmental disaster, and yet demands it to fix the problem. If the Chinese govt can/is willing to fix it, then there won’t be this problem from the beginning.

        Sure environmental regulations may fix the problem temporarily, however, if the people do not gain back the control of their own life, government won’t and will never look out for the complete benefit of its citizens. Government is composed of small group of people, and because of the selfish nature of the human being, this small group of people will always put their own interest first. Therefore unless absolutely necessary, government should always be limited. And if protecting the environment is to the benefit of the majority (no doubt), due to the same selfish nature of human being, the society at large will find solutions to correct itself, without governmental regulation.

      2. What do you know about socialism? obviously not much, I’m an American living in Spain, and it seems to work just fine here. Environmentalists driving American industry to the grave?! I suggest you google some pix from the industrial revolution period in the U.S. P.S. You have exactly one constitutional right left in the U.S.—
        to own a gun. Lovely.

  22. I think a lot of Americans feel jealous that China is becoming so powerful, but it’s important to remember the cost they’re paying too.

    1. Jealous? No, my friend. We are not jealous. How can you be jealous of these pictures?

      1. He obviously wasn’t saying Americans are jealous of the pollution. In fact,
        he said Americans didn’t even realize the environmental impact of china’s industrial growth. It’s not like you have to read between the lines to see what his assertion was; it’s pretty plain and simple.

  23. This is one of the saddest, depressing commentaries I’ve seen on the human condition in a long time. Makes me feel helpless and full of sorrow for them.

    1. Only for them? It wil affect us in a very short time, and it’s also our fault buying things made there. This is the only pressure they’d understand.

  24. References have been made to America in the 1900s; the Japanese went through this in the 70s (though I would guess not to extent that China has been pushed to), it is up to the people and more so the government of China to respond. However, I would support any foreign pressure on making China act as well.

  25. And this is the country they gave the Olympic Games to – the pinnacle of an ideal was awarded to a country that has none. I despair for our planet. What hope is there.

    1. Well, to be fair the few weeks that we were there they changed cleaned up a lot of the industrial areas in Beijing, some of them permanent fixes. It’s not as if the G8 countries are oblivious to the level of pollution that China is allowing in their country. Blame whoever you want for this, like everything progress will shape this in time. Get involved if you want to speed it up. But if you want some hope, look at every other industrialized country.
      At first they use massive labor with cheaper plants to produce things for X cost.
      Some factories modernize with the use of automated production and more specialized labor for a lower X cost.
      The now uncompetitive companies “clean up their act” with government subsidies or investors and modernize their production and hire specialized labor for a much lower cost.
      Then we get to hear about all the Chinese workers getting pissed because “dey took urr jobsssss”.

  26. @Steven M: Actually this is all a result of a lack of environmental regulations in China, coupled with greedy companies/corporations. If it cuts costs and makes them more profit then who cares if we pump sewage and waste into rivers and the air? It’s obviously just smart business.

    1. If we don’t defeat the Republicans in 2012 our country will be just as polluted…the GOP is determined to do away with all regulation..and that is the only thing protecting (haphazardly) us now…We as a nation must stand together. to not let this happen in America…otherwise like I said ….we are just a couple of decades, if that, away from a similar fate….

  27. It amazes me how stupid humans are. Hey I know, for a few dollars let’s ruin almost all of our water supply, that would be awesome.

  28. You can thank American greed for this. If only people in the US would come off of their obsession with buying cheap made-in-China crap from Walmart, the world would be a better, less polluted place.

    1. Stupidest comment ever. Like it’s America’s fault that China makes cheap goods. Those companies are not owned by Americans. If they were, there would be something to complain about. And by the way, what about selling and feeding poisoned milk to their own babies? Is that our fault too? And the deadly pet food? And the corrosive drywall? All our fault, right? There is a sense of responsibility totally lacking in China that is really no worse than America’s lack of responsibility, we just have stronger laws.

      1. Stupid comment? China and US have a symbiotic relationship based on supply and demand. Our demand is in part their economic growth, which inadvertently fuels the practices above. This isn’t to say the responsibility falls in US hands, but you can’t deny a relationship that lends itself to this mess. Stronger laws? We’re second behind China in carbon emissions. We decide not to sign an global agreement to reduce them? Kyoto agreement anyone?

        1. Um… We did agree to sign it. But when the time came, our new president (W) refused. Speaking of U.S. laws, they (and those of a few other countries) basically allow this to happen. U.S. Citizens are expected to behave morally and responsibly, if not, laws are there to ensure that they do. U.S. Corporations are not held to any standards, are treated differently under the law, and are not bound by any code of ethics, morals or responsibilities other than to there share-holders and the bottom line.

          1. True. Well there you have it – corporate interests. Responsibility is trumped by greed, as “Bob” said.

            1. Our collective problem is we view this issue through western eyes. I have traveled extensively in China. There are 1.3 BILLION people there and their system works for them. They have made enormous gains in the last 10 years, all do to our “greedy” investments. We are doing something, the dollars we spend have lifted their entire population up. The consuming class has risen to more than 400 million and continues to grow. Give them time to evolve. In the last 2 years their government has stepped up to require massive reform in environmental AND humanitarian regulations, but we need to know they started from nothing nine years ago. It took America 50 years to do what they have done in nine!!!!

        2. Yes, it is stupid. Your comment is not too hot either. America’s biggest period of economic growth was decades before China became industrialized at all, in the years after WWII, so they didn’t help us. And yes, we have immensely stronger environmental laws than China. There once were rivers so polluted in America that they caught fire. We enacted tough laws and that is no longer the problem it once was, though we have a long way to go. If you don’t think we have strong laws, watch Erin Brockavich, it’s a true story. And I agree that we should have done better with the Kyoto agreement, but we have Bush and Company to blame for that. Wait and see if the Obama administration doesn’t improve on things.

    1. Because its more responsible to blame global issues on one source, albeit a considerable one. More than likely it’s probably a college kid who doesn’t understand the definition of global responsibility.

    2. You’re right in that China would have probably gone down this route; but we’re not exactly guilty either. It was Clinton who opened up our borders to the PRC and American corporations (Wal-mart, of course, but also Target and Sears and Levi Strauss and Schwinn Bikes and many other companies, all looking for the lower costs) who took advantage of them.

      You can’t even blame the American people fully on this. After all, if you had a super-center pop up fifteen miles away with what you wanted, would you go there…or someplace where you could order it from the catalog outlet? Didn’t think you’d pick the catalog outlet store…or the local outlet that barely has enough to supply the town’s population.

      I blame the corporations and the people who own them. They’re the ones who profit off the above pictures, indeed they press for this stuff.

  29. @dillinger: It’s because China is an export economy and we’re one of their major trading partners. I know, it’s not entirely our fault here in the States, but it is a factor. Just makes me sad to see this. Like someone else said, it reminds you of other countries going through their own industrial revolutions, except on a stupefyingly large scale.

  30. Seriously, there are people still blaming the US for this? Everyone consumes, not just the US, furthermore the US doesn’t make China policy. The US cleans up it’s factories and has established environmental laws.

    America bashing is all cool on the internet I know, but at least point the finger at the true guilty party. The ones sacrificing the environment because it’s cheap.

    1. The U.S. could end conditions like this within 5-10 years with the stroke of a pen. If we set import tariffs on countries based on their environmental performance and human rights conditions instead of pleasing corporate interest for cheap foreign labor and natural resources.

      Not only would this force China to improve conditions in their own country but might make domestic manufacturing viable again in the U.S.

        1. I actually served my country 10+ years of environmental law enforcement for the Coast Guard. That is until they became part of the Homeland Security Administration. After that all enforcement of our own domestic environmental policy just became an after thought. The governor of the most polluted state in the country (NJ with over 100 super fund clean up sites) became the head of the EPA. While the Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and the INS watched 10,000 cargo container loads of goods enter the country every day (and that’s just in NY and NJ, BTW) without getting inspected and some of those not even documented. Many were undeclared cargo from places like Dubai and Saudi Arabia. This was less than six months after Sept. 11th. Meanwhile, you as a citizen couldn’t take a pocket knife with you to the airport.

          I was never so disgusted with my country. I devoted ten years of my life to a just cause and had it all taken away (and not by terrorists). I felt that everything I had believed up until that point in my life was a lie. I realized just how naive and gullible most American are. I thought about moving to Canada or France.

          Am I proud of my service? Some of it yes, some of it no. I know I did more during my career than W did not showing up for drills in the Air Nat’l Guard.

          BTW – There will never be another draft. Short of a full scale land invasion of the U.S. It would be a policy disaster to send people who don’t want to serve in to combat. Besides, it’s all volunteer now. Many of our troops aren’t even U.S. Citizens yet. They join the USMC from places like the Philippines in exchange for their service the get U.S. citizenship.

          1. You just might want to take a look at who has been funding this government war machine for the past decade by purchasing treasuries. I’ll tell you, it has been China. What do you think they’ll do when we tell them we are going to put tariffs on all their imports until they act like we want them to act. I’ll tell you again, they’ll want paid back. This may come as a shock to you, we can’t pay them back unless we print a boatload of money. Let’s say we do print a boatload of money and ship it over to them, guess where they will want to spend their US dollars? One word, Argentina.

            Or we could just give them the big middle finger. War on.

      1. why would one country force another country into taking care of itself? These conditions are affecting Chinese citizens, not American citizens. This is not a global community issue, it is a Chinese industrialization issue. America, Europe, and other parts of the world went through their own industrial periods which pretty much look exactly like this and China could have learned through the mistakes of so many other countries but chose not to.

        1. It is effecting us. Global warming is just that, a global problem and a global responsibility.

        2. ..and people suffering so terribly like this is no problem of ours just because they’re not American citizens? come on. we don’t have to solve it, but we don’t have to contribute to it either.

          with that said, America is NOT to blame, China is and always will be at fault for their own terrible treatment of human life.

          simple solution; gradually decrease Chinese product import, gradually increase local production.

          1. Am I to understand that you propose the global solution is that US should should start production industries on US land?
            Yeah… I don’t think that is the solution… What products are are being made in these plants that create such pollution on this massive scale? What and how can we create a product to replace these products at the same time we create more jobs, more work, and more capital in the USA? I believe this would be the solution. We need to increase the the value of the dollar, and Americans need jobs… We must do this, and not at the cost of decreasing the value of American lives. I feel there is definitely an opportunity for economic advancement in the US, in the name of saving many lives and helping the environment world wide,

  31. Many people rant against the environmental regulations in this country. Due to those regulations, the US manufacturing facilities no longer look or operate like this. Luckily, when the US was unregulated, the chemicals produced were not as toxic or produced in such huge quantities.

    People in this country are so short sighted that the wish to remove environmental regulations that helped return this country to its beautiful present condition. I grew up in Pittsburgh at its height in steel production and rarely saw the blue sky that we take for granted today.

  32. I think a lot of the people commenting here need to see photos of major cities and factory areas of the US, England, and Germany circa 1870-1930 give or take a few decades. Other than the newer fashion of architecture they are pretty much identical.

    My grandfather has pictures of our city when he was a young man and the street lights are on at noon due to smog and you had to wear dark over coats that went from neck to ankle to keep your lighter color clothes from turning brown as you walked down the street. The incidences of breathing related issues was so bad that pretty much everyone at that time had someone in their family that was always sickly due to pollutants. The rivers were so thin you could walk across them much of the year. Not that you would want to do this because mercury, oil, fly-ashe, and raw sewage could be seen floating down the surface not to mention the smell. There were even instances where different clouds of pollutants would settle in the valley and be blown together forming toxic clouds that killed and/or badly injured people.

    China and most of south east asia are currently going through their industrial revolution period. Its a time of great growth and the great consequences that follow. The US and western Europe to this day still have poisoned land areas from plants and factories currently running and we have been working on reducing these things for decades.

    It’s not pretty. As someone who travels to China a couple times a year though I have been told many times by people living in city slums and rural poverty that though life looks so bad it’s actually better than what they had before.


    1. so what is your point? (not trying to be rude) that China will change? that one day it will become more regulated and preserving of human life, just on its own, as a ‘natural’ course of development, the way you suggest the U.S. did? i don’t think so, it will only get worse if it continues to be supported by external economies. China will do anything to increase their power, their own citizens’ lives are totally expendable.

    2. You seem to be saying that a country cannot industrialize without this kind of pollution and where is your proof? Can’t they learn from our mistakes? Would you give them a free pass if they went through a period of slavery now, because we did? Does that make it their right? And your comment about life there being better than it was before is revolting, did you even look at the pictures? You think all those people with cancer and other pollution-caused diseases think things are better than before? I doubt it very much.

    1. But dont you think that is more than obvious what is happening and what they are doing? Its not like they are uneducated about cause and effect and world history. They have internet access.

  33. No matter what race you are, or where you are, we all need to stop buying these products and do what ever we can to stop this WORLDWIDE. We are all to blame. Our past generations and world leaders have aloud this to continue because they are too scared to act. Everyone talks but no one does nothing about it. We needed ACTION 10 years ago, and now more than ever. A world wide law should be in place that any person that is involved with heavy pollution or exploitation of our planet should be put in jail for life. This is no different that genocide, war, or murder. Our future and our children’s futures are being ruined due to a small percentage of GREEDY people, who use there filthy profits to pay corrupt officials so they can continue to exploit and pollute. Look at what is happening in Africa. If all of us start doing something today no matter how small, maybe future generations have a chance.

    1. A world-wide law!? And who is going to enforce the rule of law? Maybe you’ve heard of a little thing called sovereignty. Don’t like what is happening in China? Stop buying their goods, call on your member of congress or parliament and tell them to stop trading with China, talk to your friends and neighbors. But seriously, a world-wide law!? OK, I’m on-board if I can be appointed supreme leader of the world.

      1. I say laws and regulations in regards to the environment. That crap does not just stay in chinese waters and china’s air. Your getting your whiff of it too. Greenhouse gases effect us all.

        1. agreed, but world-wide environmental laws and regulations will work just about as well as world-wide nuclear arms regulations.

  34. Japan had the same health/environment issues when it was rapidly industrializing after WW2. Only strong citizen movements, protests, and this kind of exposure can get them to clean up their act; hope they realize this kind of dirt growth isn’t helping anyone and they need some sort of regulations to continue sustainably

    1. Still a problem for China. Citizens cannot speak out freely like other countries. They have to rely on people, such as the filmmaker, and world citizens to help give them a voice. We need to take this to our governments and squeak louder than lobbyists. This is like a war crime, only everyone in the world is suffering because of it. Global warming? We may be slow in America, but we are getting there-but China? The largest polluters in the world and we do nothing, just so Wal-Mart can keep things cheap.

  35. look at your ignorant fucks, the first thing you say is : who to blame.

    wow, very impressive, western education has educated you folks to entertaine other’s misery, i’m just not going to explain what is actually going on in china, since it’s better to watch your folks play stupid

  36. As noted, there are environmental regulations in china — one of the captions “regulations specify x, they did y anyway”. Without courts or methods to restrict or harm those in control, then these things continue to go on.

    Look up in your history books about how many people died in London due to pollution. As recently as 1962!

    And that is acute pollution, not taking lost life from chronic exposure.

    Notice this quote from the above: Iron and glass then later steel manufacturing with uncontrolled coal burning until
    abatement laws passed in 1941 – suspended due to WWII, but never did have much effect.

  37. This photo album is outstanding. Many of these mistakes have been made before, it’s a crime to see this happen, This is where think global act local can change things. Cheap goods at home and exporting mfg outside of our boarders do not solve the environmental crisis that we face world wide. That is why it is so important to understand the big picture. The logging industry was shut down in the Pacific North West and then the rain forests started to disappear. The steel industry in the East was shut down and the acid rain fell in China. The mining industry in the US was shut down and before anyone realized it 93% of the rare earth minerals needed to fuel the Green Alternative Energy economy will be coming from a country with no EPA. We need to stop this madness. Go local and create jobs by building sustainable industry’s that produce what we need at home in an environmentaly safe manner. It may cost more but it will provide the materials for our economic strengh for the future. If we need to drill offshore California and the wild life refuge in Alaska to replace middle east oil, it’s a small price to pay. Drill here and start drilling NOW!

  38. Great photos…made me rethink about fairness. In China, the wealthy are stinking rich, and the poors are suffering because the wealthy business owners keep all the profit and pay the workers next to nothing….how ironic, this is the truth behind the so-claimed socialism, freaking pathetic.

    1. Thats not entirely true. My friend, from Ghuangzhou (sp), her father was a very lucrative manufacturer, so much so the government took half his business and capped him at a certain income. He can no longer be free to make as much as he can to better his life, his family or the community around him.

    1. i believe in human intuwishen and classfull observiance to all people alike for all ethniciy,good is the best power of oppisite worlds.mankind has an instinct unlike no other world keep the cosmos rollin and save your love for someone who you want beauty mind and soul a virgen someone who is goiggly and wild ,young and cute
      a romantic life is in store for my futureim waiting to get to travel the lands of the earth to find love in humankind thru knowlege

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  40. This is not a result of America or Europe – that’s just hating on the first world. The party at fault is the Chinese government. They have complete control over the people; everyone there is totally brainwashed to believe everything they hear (I’ve been there, it’s completely true). The government slowly gives the people small rights and privileges – the people call it reform, but it is really the government maintaining a leash on the people by keeping them loyal and thinking that “change is coming.” In reality, the government does not do a thing to either regulate the industrial impact on the environment or people.

    The poorness of the Chinese people in general is something that’s difficult to help. There are so many of them, and only so much money to go around – someone has to lose whenever someone else gains. Another thing that people fail to take into account is the subsidized nature of Chinese life – everything is made cheaper by the government. You can easily be fed for 2 yuan (about 30 cents).

  41. Wow. Looking at that suffering, the horror, the tragedy of it all…nope, still don’t give a shit.

      1. Actually no, I’m not. Shitty human beings are the ones that did the things you see in the pictures. I didn’t do jack. Maybe I’m not a good person because I’m not going to do anything about it, but that certainly make me a shitty person. Besides, what would you have me do? What would you do? What do you think anyone can actually accomplish? Nobody has the power to change this or fix it, you’d all be wise to accept that fact. Welcome to the real world.

        1. No, the reason we think you are a shitty person is not that you are not going to do anything about it, but because, as you said, you don’t give a shit.

  42. Terrible situation where progress is overtaking basic environmental consideration and causing significant hardship to the people in those areas.

  43. Pollution is only an easily perceptible one of many problems in China. Purely handling it is simply useless as its causes are numerous and complex. Only a revolutionary reform from top to bottom can save this country’s future.
    BTW, I’m a Chinese. And I hate Communist, ha.

  44. We also trade heavily with Canada and Europe. Standards of living aren’t too shabby there. Most, if not all, of the countries trading with China take advantage of the fact that that there are lax.. rules? Anyways there is no way to stop it until either the Chinese gov changes their laws (most likely not soon) or the world unites and stops buying their goods (most likely never).

  45. Certainly this is the fault of the Chinese Govt and a system that thrives on corruption and “it’s who you know, not what you know” that enables people to get along in life. Western countries have happily invested in China and moved their businesses (and jobs from their own countries) in search of the cheaper labour and overheads etc in China. The Chinese Govt has used artificial foreign exchange rate with the Yuan against US and other foreign currencies to retain this advantage. Western consumers have happily bought cheaper goods made in China so perhaps the blame can be spread around, albeit a little. China is not Communist and hasn’t been for at least the past 20 years, they are a Capitalist Totalitarian State. Fortunately for most other capitalist nations the combination of laws and consumer power ensures that scenes like this are less likely. If anything it should raise people’s awareness so that they make sure nothing like this ever happens in their own country, those of us that live in democratic nations that is. The Chinese people, the ordinary ones, won’t have a chance of forcing change by electing a new government as we are so fortunate to enjoy the right of doing in the West.

    1. Most Americans have this sick mentality. They somehow think that they are in no way responsible for the suffering of others. Americans dont buy out of necessity, they buy out of greed & arrogance. Their greed & arrogance fuel the evil corporations like Walmart. These corporations look for the cheapest source possible – China, the slave empire. Chinese in turn keep the products cheap by cutting down on wages, not investing in QC & pollution control.

      I hope this evil world order will soon come to an end.

  46. Its very sad. American corporations & the Chinese govt are the biggest culprits. Next is the American people who engage in unbridled consumerism and the Chinese people who willingly let themselves to be treated like slaves. US & China economy are an inseparable big bubble. The sooner it bursts, the better for humanity. The irony is, no matter how rich China gets, the condition of these people will never improve. China cannot afford to spend the surplus dollars it makes. If it does, then the dollar will depreciate & the Chinese exports will plunge. China cannot even afford to increase the wages of the people; incorporate quality control in the manufacturing process; or implement pollution control measures. Any of these will increase production costs & thus reduce the exports. So China has to handover whatever extra dollars it has to US in exchange for paper !

  47. This is the most depressing thing I’ve seen in a long time. We are going to choke this earth to death within the next 50-70 years. I’m glad I only have 30, at most, to live.

  48. Those are fake pictures. I don’t believe in pollution. It’s Christian propaganda. Al Gore is a liar. Every satanist knows the earth is clean and hardly polluted. Our Father and Master Satan said so to me. I’m the Grand Magister Blackwood of the Temples of Satan. We have the Truth. The pollution is not real. Satan is coming. Prepare.

    1. It’s very real…China has a long history of the most populated area on Earth…they have contributed much to humanity throughout time. But they also have a history of poverty. The nations of the world are going to want their carbon units…and China wants there’s to make the dream. I have seen China’s dream. There are many billions of people in our world, “a world where many people wanted more”, who will not be deterred from getting out of the poverty cycle one way or another. India is developing industry more and more, China has been developing. These billions of people want things, and they will get them.
      And for Satan, well, Satan is not a being…Satan was never born…Satan is a place.

  49. Let me sum it up for you morons who blame everyone else for China’s problems except China. Ready? This is going to be real hard on some of you.

    China is it’s own country.

    I know this is really hard for some of you to get through your heads, but you’re going to have to concentrate on this for one minute. China gets to decide what is best for them. There isn’t a world government to tell them how to act no matter how much you wish there was. You got maybe three choices if you don’t like what they are doing: Invade, Ask for Change, or Ignore. If you are lucky you’ll get some of your allies to do whatever you do.

    Go ahead an ramble on about social responsibility, justice, equality, or whatever other BS besides the point issue you think is important. China gets to decide what is best for them. If they pollute your water, air or land, you’ve got the same 3 choices. These basic facts have existed for millions of years.

    So go ahead and have a group hug while someone picks your pocket. This is why you fail.

  50. Sad and tragic. A combination of ignorance and lack of education which push and feed some of the most sinister parts of human nature…greed, envy, arrogance…

    Greed in the need for the corporations to produce and sell with the highest any cost to society…or people who are not them, whether they realize it or not (i.e. breathing the same toxic air)

    Envy in the competition with other chemical factories in China again to cut each others prices…forcing corner cutting in all areas.

    Arrogance in the way they think their lives are somehow more worthy that those taking the brunt of the pollution while in poverty.

    I guess that’s the government’s curbing such aspects of human nature so as to prevent disintegration of a society as a whole, but government is also run by human beings…

  51. The more developed countries are so wise to move their factories to China, so that it’s the Chinese who suffer, instead of their own people. Who created most pollution in the last century?
    I’m not saying that the Chinese government is not responsible, but it’s in fact the responsibility of all countries.
    We should all push our own governments to do more for the environment. The climate talk is coming in December in Copenhagen. It’s time for every one of us to take action.

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